Woman who lost legs in boating accident at ‘Playpen’ near Oak Street Beach files lawsuit

Lana Batochir’s “catastrophic injuries” in August were “entirely preventable,” her suit claims, naming company that rented out boat that struck her and the boat’s captain.

SHARE Woman who lost legs in boating accident at ‘Playpen’ near Oak Street Beach files lawsuit
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Lana Batochir speaks from her hospital about her recovery weeks after she lost both legs in a boating accident in August.

Screenshot from YouTube video

A negligence lawsuit has been filed by a woman who lost both legs in a boating accident at the “Playpen” in Lake Michigan near Oak Street Beach last summer.

Lana Batochir was injured last August as she and friends were on a raft near the beach. A rented yacht began drifting toward them as the captain struggled with a malfunctioning anchor, according to a preliminary accident report.

To correct the drifting, the captain placed the boat in reverse and smashed into the raft, the report stated. Batochir and another woman got caught in the yacht’s propeller. Batochir was brought to a hospital where her legs were amputated below the knee.

“Lana’s catastrophic injuries were entirely preventable,” said Michael D. Ditore, one of the lawyers who filed the suit this week. “Lana, a young, vibrant mother of two children, is permanently disfigured; she suffered and still suffers excruciating pain.”

The lawsuit was filed against Chicago AquaLeisure, which rented out the boat, Theresa Tran, the company’s owner, and Joseph Neverauskas, the boat’s captain.

It accuses Neverauskas of failing to maintain a “proper lookout” and says he was speeding when he hit the raft. The suit states that Chicago AquaLeisure “failed to provide him with adequate training and instruction, in addition to failing to provide him with a seaworthy boat.”

Neither Neverauskas nor Chicago AquaLeisure could be reached for comment.

In the weeks after the accident, Batochir said she worried how her children would accept her but added, “I feel so lucky. I could’ve died — and I’m alive. And I’m able to hug my kids. I’m able to kiss them.”

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